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Black transgender woman Jasmine "Star" Mack, 36, was stabbed to death Saturday in Washington, D.C., the first reported violent death of a trans person in the U.S. in 2023.
She was found lying in the street "in an unconscious and unresponsive state with an apparent stab wound to their right leg," according to a police report quoted by the Washington Blade. It's possible for a person to bleed to death from a leg wound, a spokesperson for the medical examiner's office told the Blade. She was pronounced dead at 3:10 a.m. Her death has been classified as a homicide.
Mack was found in the 2000 block of Gallaudet Street, N.E., a one-block section of the street, the Blade notes. Both warehouses and residences are located there, and it's two blocks from an enclave of popular nightclubs, where some of the business owners have complained about crime. The neighborhood is known as Ivy City.
Police said it's unclear why Mack was in the area. She currently had no fixed address, and the last known address for her was about a mile away.
Mack is being remembered fondly by family and friends. "She loved everybody," her sister Pamela Witherspoon told TV station WUSA. "Most of all I'm going to miss her saying 'I love you sister, I love you.'" In a remark directed at Mack's killer, Witherspoon said, "We forgive you, but please turn yourself in."
Trans activist Earline Budd knew Mack as a client of HIPS, a social services organization. "She was really one for the books," Budd told WUSA. Mack has high-spirited and "would always keep you laughing," she said.
Mohammad Mobaidin said Mack would often stop by a mosque he runs in the Ivy City neighborhood when the congregation was distributing food and clothing. "She was very polite and would thank us, say 'God bless you' and all of that," he told the TV station. "She was really, really nice, polite, and I don't think she deserved what happened to her."
Police ask that anyone with information about the crime call (202) 727-9099 or submit a tip anonymously by texting 50411. A reward of up to $25,000 is offered for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in a homicide case in D.C.
At least 36 trans, nonbinary, or gender-nonconforming people died violently in the U.S. in 2022. That total includes a trans man and a trans woman killed in the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs on November 19 as well as a trans woman, whose name has not been released, who was killed in Vallejo, Calif., in November. That is most likely an undercount, as many of these deaths go unreported or misreported, with victims deadnamed and misgendered. The nation saw a record 57 reported violent deaths among this population in 2021. In any given year, the majority of victims are Black women.